Search engine optimization, or SEO, is a specialized form of content writing that can be extremely effective in boosting the amount of traffic that comes to your website via search engines, like Google and Bing. In simplest terms, an SEO writer creates content that is optimized for search engines.
That means the content is written in a manner that helps Google and other search engines find and identify it as being relevant to certain keywords and phrases that people enter into the search engine query box.
The most important thing to remember about SEO writing is that there are two types: good SEO writing and very bad SEO writing. There is very little gray area here. Either a piece of content can help your website’s search engine rankings or it can hurt your rankings.
You need to understand the difference before you hire an SEO writer to create content for you or you might end up damaging your website’s chances for success. This could come in the form of reduced traffic from search engines or a complete ban of your site from appearing on search engine results pages.
Think of it this way.
Google and other search engines don’t like SEO writing. Search engines want to deliver the best results to searchers based on the search terms visitors enter. Content that is written with the intention of artificially boosting a page’s search results ranking is content that Google and other search engines don’t necessarily want to display at the top of search results lists.
Search engines want to show the best content based on context relevance, authority of the site, trustworthiness based on how other sites and people engage with the site, and other factors.
To that end, search engine algorithms are designed to detect content that was written for the sole purpose of boosting search engine traffic. For example, keyword stuffing, hiding keywords in a very small font or a color that blends with the background, and paying for incoming links are all tactics that Google considers to be spam, and your website’s search traffic will be negatively affected if you’re caught doing any of them.
Therefore, it’s critical that you work with a trustworthy SEO expert and good SEO writer, or else your investment in SEO services and content could put your website and business in a worse position. With that said, here are 10 qualities held by a good SEO writer who delivers the return your business needs.
1. Understands grammar, structure and spelling.
This is one of the biggest problems in SEO writing. Many businesses pay very low prices to get a lot of articles written for SEO purposes, but if those articles are horrible, they aren’t worth the $5 or even less you paid for each one. A good SEO writer knows grammar. He or she knows to use a comma after an introductory phrase, when to use who, that or which, and when and how to use apostrophes.
Every grammatical, structure or spelling error reduces the quality of your content and the credibility of your website, brand and business. People buy from businesses they trust, not businesses that publish low quality, untrustworthy content.
2. Knows how to work with your SEO expert.
Ideally, your SEO writer and SEO expert should be able to communicate with each other and work together to ensure the content aligns with your goals. If they operate in silos, your results won’t be as good as they could be if they work together.
3. Writes for people first and search engines second.
Remember, Google doesn’t like content written for SEO purposes. Therefore, your content should always be written for your audience first. Keywords should be added naturally as a secondary priority.
4. Understands your audience.
Take a look back at item three. Again, a good SEO writer writes for people first. That means he or she must take the time to understand who your audience is, what is important to them, and what content would be useful and meaningful to them.
If your writer creates content that your audience doesn’t want to read, then there is really no point in publishing it.
5. Knows the do’s and don’ts of SEO writing.
A good SEO writer doesn’t need to be an SEO expert. He or she should be a content writing expert who has a very good understanding of current SEO do’s and don’ts. For example, they should know to use keywords naturally in titles, in the first paragraph and in heading tags, if possible. They should know how long content needs to be and to avoid keyword stuffing. If your writer doesn’t have a basic knowledge of SEO, you shouldn’t work with them.
6. Costs money.
I can’t stress enough how important it is to invest in quality writing from someone who understands how to write for the web, your audience and SEO. Cheap content will do more harm than good. The harm might not come immediately, but it will come. When the damage is done, it can be very hard to get back onto Google’s good side. In fact, that’s often impossible.
7. Writes clearly and succinctly.
Hiring a writer who can write clearly and succinctly goes hand in hand with hiring one who creates quality content, which rarely comes cheap. However, publishing clear, succinct and useful content is essential to ensure your audience will read and share it. People spend very little time engaging with content. If yours doesn’t capture their attention and communicate your message quickly and clearly, you’ll lose your chance to connect with your audience entirely.
8. Writes content people want to read and share.
Again, a good SEO writer takes the time to understand your audience and your goals. He or she will think strategically about what content will best help you reach those goals and appeal to your audience. SEO isn’t a quick tactic that will suddenly boost traffic to your website. It’s a long-term commitment, so the type of content your writer creates shouldn’t be thrown together in a haphazard way.
9. Understands storytelling.
Great content marketing isn’t self-promotional. It’s useful and meaningful to the target audience. It maps with the buyer journey and helps move consumers through the marketing funnel from awareness to purchase and loyalty. A good SEO writer knows how to craft a story that piques reader interest and elicits emotions that ultimately strengthen their relationship with your brand and boost word-of-mouth.
10. Knows how to write compelling, relevant headlines.
Headlines are critical in content marketing. Not only do they directly affect how many people read beyond the title, but they also impact your SEO efforts. A good SEO writer knows how to write “click worthy” headlines as well as how to weave keywords into headlines whenever possible, while ensuring they aren’t too long or short.
A good writer isn’t cheap, whether they are creating SEO content, copywriting or composing some other kind of marketing content. There is much to consider when creating content, particularly SEO content, so don’t try to save money when it’s time to actually write that content. Bad content truly can do long-lasting damage to your website, brand and business.